A Gem of a Dog

Jewels the golden retriever risked her own life to save the two little girls she loved.
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Dreaming of Jewels

Misty Elsworth vividly recalls a dream she had six years ago. At the time she was 24 and divorced with a son, Dalton, then 2. In her nighttime reverie, though, Misty also had a daughter and a golden retriever named Jewels. She was married to the man she was then dating, Skip Elsworth, a 34-year-old firefighter. Finally, in the dream, she and Skip had built a house in Long Beach, Mississippi, their hometown and a small coastal city about 70 miles northeast of New Orleans.

Over the next few years, each of the elements of the dream came true: Misty and Skip married in 2002 and had a daughter, Ashlyn, in 2003. They finished building a home for their family that same year. Just the dog was missing from the picture.

Then in the spring of 2004 a client at the dental office where Misty worked as an assistant told her of a litter of golden retriever pups for sale. Misty snapped one up and, recalling her dream, named her Jewels.

From the beginning the couple considered Jewels not only a pet but also a member of the family. "She gets presents at Christmastime," says Misty. "Something bad happening to her is like something happening to my kids. I couldn't ask for a better dog."

Whenever Skip went on duty, he felt comforted knowing that the dog was with his wife and children. "Having Jewels there meant one less worry while I was gone," he says.

Then came the night of August 29, 2005, when Hurricane Katrina uprooted trees and turned houses into driftwood in Long Beach. Misty and Skip, like many of their neighbors, did not evacuate but instead fortified their house, determined to ride out the storm. While the wind howled, they played games to distract the children. Jewels, normally easygoing, spun in circles as she sensed the danger. "I was terrified," admits Misty.

Continued on page 2:  A Poisonous Encounter


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